Sunday, July 12, 2009

So today is Sunday, and it's the day of the Hopkins Raspberry Criterium, at 4pm. Phil's been diligently getting onto his bike and riding the rectangular routes around the greater St. Cloud area for one week in anticipation of future racing back in Italy when we return.

I loved this picture (it was taken while he was on his trainer before the Canadian Nationals Time Trial race on June 28, 2009) and I think it really encapsulates the zone that anyone who has ever raced gets into while warming up to compete.

Now, we're in Minneapolis and it's a gorgeous sunny morning in Liana's Uptown apartment. We're going to grab a bagel and coffee soon, and then we'll part ways to get a run/ride in before the race begins later this afternoon, then onto Superweek races near Milwaukee, WI later this week!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Hair chopped off? Check.
Hair dyed a nice blonder than the box's yellow shade? FINALLY. Longest 4 days and worst version of Sonja, ever.

Outside opinions of the forever-sporting-long-hair-turned-modern bob girl are appreciated (but not believed, sorry).

Feelin' like a brand new woman, which is vital before embarking into the exhilarating races that are SUPERWEEK in Wisconsin and Illinois.

A quick recap: we've had a week full of meeting my family on both sides and it's been the most condensed and completely enjoyable MN summer week I've ever experienced. Not too busy, not too boring, perfect weather, chill family time, and late night fast internet hours and hours of unnecessary internet cruising. Having Phil here to feel the fortune of wonderful family has been priceless (I tried deleting this line to maintain my cool vs. corny balance, but I couldn't leave it out. I may have to side with corny today.)

Onto the next phase of 2009 in just a few days - we're pre-planning for my Fulbright Scholar Award in Barcelona starting in September, and Phil's off-season of cycling throughout Northern Spain. Looking for an apartment for those three months that is accessible to the mountains (for Phil) and to the city (for me).

More Tour de France watching now, from earlier today, at 1:23 am. Or maybe I'll decide to get some sleep...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sweet Campbellton

After spending time over the past few weeks in Beauce, Moncton, and Campbellton, I can honestly say I am a fan of that tiny town by the raging St. Lawrence river. The people are friendly, the fast food tastes almost as good as the nightly 5pm dinners cooked by Grandma and Grandpa Smollett, and based on 6 hours straight of playing Rock Band, their pseudo-instrumental skills are unbeatable. Hats off to Phil singing "Roxanne" by The Police in the 4th hour. If you think it's easy for a baritone voice squelching out the same falsetto word 50 times in one song you're wrong, my friends. Don't try that at home.

Tonight we're in the Bangor airport. It's in Maine, and it's the nearest large airport to Campbellton at a bitty 5 hours away. We rode with his Aunt June in his mom's lovely grape mini-van, packed with two overweight suitcases and a bike bag. We stopped about 5 times in 5 hours because I have a small bladder. No, not a small bladder problem, just a very small bladder. Yes, there's a difference (I think?). Oh yeah, and we got stopped at the border and questioned by the immigration control because I got too friendly with the lad outside. For some reason I decided for myself that we were having a real conversation about Phil and my life, so I told him more, rather than less. This meant 20 minutes of questioning in the office that was concluded with a massive search of the grapemobile. Poor little suitcases. They were tidy before the land monster lady went through them, as Phil called her. He's normally an overly P-C person, but in this case, because she wasn't extremely cordial, I set aside my MN-nice attitude and will call her that too. In any case, I got a thorough lecturing from Phil about information and privacy and borders with an entire line-up of anecdotes and "what ifs"... the whole shebang. Needless to say, I am a newbie to the system that many Canadians are more than used to. Stupid borders.

Anyway, onward ho to the land of 10,000 lakes, the common loons and ladyslippers, the mammoth-sized mosquitoes, and my wonderful family!

Oh, and the hair - I tried dying it myself. It turned fluourescent yellow. Tomorrow I am banking on a fun visit to a hair stylist for minor color correction and a massive chop. Pictures coming soon!